Typhoid fever is considered one of the most serious diarrhoeal diseases caused by certain bacteria (salmonella). The disease is widespread worldwide, but occurs more frequently in countries with poor hygienic conditions. Typhoid diseases that occur in Germany are usually brought back by travellers returning from tropical countries. As a prophylaxis, an oral vaccination can be administered in order to achieve protection among travellers.
There are two types of typhoid fever: the so-called abdominal typhoid fever (typhus abdominalis) and the typhoid-like disease (paratyphoid fever).
The number of new cases of typhoid fever per year is estimated at 22 million people, of whom about 200,000 die. Most of the deaths occur in the group of five to twelve year old children.
In Germany, the number of typhoid cases has been greatly reduced, which can be attributed to an improvement in hygiene conditions. According to the Robert Koch Institute, there were 69 new cases in 2008, all of whom recovered completely. Paratyphoid fever affected 86 people, with more than 80% of those infected having contracted the disease in other countries.